As we take a glimpse of the dawn of time, when God made a beautiful and perfect world, we are amazed at the handiwork we see. I’m not a scientist, but the more I read and the more I discover about creation, the more amazed I become. In this article, we’re going to look at just a handful of ways that our God designed this world for our good. We don’t have time to look at all of them, and we don’t even know everything about our world. I encourage you to continue to discover more things on your own and to share them with loved ones around you.
Let There Be Light
The very first thing God made, recorded in Genesis, is light.
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:3-5)
On the fourth day, we read about the forms that this light took, at least as we can see it from our homes here on planet Earth.
“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” (Genesis 1:14-19)
We know God made lights in the sky that would divide the day from the night. The sun is an obvious example of a light that tells us it is daytime. The moon and stars are seen best at night. The Bible calls the sun a “greater light” and the moon a “lesser light.” Any elementary school child understands how the moon reflects the light of the sun, and even toddlers enjoy the stars and twinkling lights of the evening sky.
God lists several purposes for making these lights. First of all, he wanted to divide the day from the night. Secondly, he wanted us to be aware of time and schedules. The sun, moon, and stars have been used since the beginning even to make calendars filled with days, weeks, months, and years. The seasons are obvious by the singing of birds or by leaves falling off trees, but even in climates where the weather stays the same, we know the season by the position of constellations in the sky.
So God set the heavenly lights in the sky to give us light, to “rule” over the day and the night, and to divide the light from the dark.
I wonder who first decided he had too much work to do and needed more daylight. Maybe Eve was putting up the vegetables from her first garden and ripped her dress on some thorns. “Adam,” she said, “I certainly don’t want to wear this torn thing out in the garden tomorrow! But the sun is going down. I’ll never get these tomatoes preserved and have time to mend my dress.”
“Oh, honey, I don’t think it looks too bad. You always look beautiful to me.”
“Hmmm. Uh, huh. Maybe I’ll just sit by the fire tonight and do my sewing.”
“Oh, Sweetie, I wouldn’t want you to strain your eyes. Let me see what I can come up with.”
By night, Adam may have invented the first torch… or candle… or lantern. Maybe Eve stayed up an extra two hours to work on her dress. Sure, she was a little tired the next day, but it was worth it. Of course, then her husband decided that it was fun to stay up a little later, and the two of them probably took no time at all inventing some popcorn to eat while they were enjoying their evenings together.
Over 6,000 years later, I can turn on all the electric lights, watch TV, surf the Internet, and even shop – 24 hours a day.
Every morning, the sun still wakes up, earlier in the summer than it does in the winter, but it still rises predictably, consistently, quietly. Depending on what time I went to bed last night, I might not be aware that it rose. Or I might notice but I’m disgusted at how early it comes up. Doesn’t it know I need more sleep? more dark? more quiet?
Deep inside my brain, God created a tiny gland called the pineal gland. This tiny gland, about the size of a pea, is responsible for producing a hormone called melatonin. Darkness stimulates the production of melatonin, and light tells it to stop. Melatonin is a powerful hormone that directs our circadian rhythms and even orchestrates our sexual development.
The retina of the eye receives light and transmits the signals from that light to the pineal gland. The patterns of daylight and darkness received by the pineal gland orchestrate the production of proper amounts of melatonin.
God said in Genesis 1 that each new day began with evening. The Jews continue to observe this today by beginning each day at sundown. Perhaps the custom of starting a new day at night tells us something of the importance of darkness?
One of the purposes of melatonin is to regulate our days and nights. Halfway through the night, melatonin production peaks, gradually falling toward dawn. Until very recently, in many parts of the world we would have experienced up to 18 hours of darkness in the winter months. Now that we’ve become “civilized” with the invention of bright, artificial lights, we may only have eight or fewer hours of darkness a night. Night lights, bright alarm clocks, and yard lights have all been shown to diminish the production of melatonin in our brains at night. Exposure to bright light at night, enjoyed by those in careers where they work the night shift, has been implicated in disorders such as cancer. Sitting in front of flashing television screens, turning on bright lights to use the bathroom at 2 a.m. – all of these things upset the production of melatonin in our pineal glands.
Melatonin has many uses, beginning with the oversight of our metabolism. Young children produce more melatonin than adults, making scientists think that it plays a role in postponing sexual development. Melatonin is a powerful anti-oxidant, and it has been shown helpful in reducing the damage caused by some types of Parkinson’s disease, in strengthening the immune system, in preventing migraine headaches, and in helping the heart beat properly. It has even been shown to help mice live longer! Melatonin helps us dream properly, which has been shown to keep us from going insane.
It may seem strange to begin our discussion of health by looking at a tiny, pea-sized gland in our brains, but it makes so much sense to begin rebuilding our health by such a simple means. Here are some steps you can take to allow God’s sun, moon, and stars to rule over your days and nights:
- Turn off the television after dark. Don’t watch TV in bed. The same goes for your computer. Keep the bright, flashing lights confined to the hours when the “sun rules the day.”
- Go to sleep as soon as possible after dark. Did you know that your body recharges itself most between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.? Your adrenal glands use those night-time hours to heal and refresh from the stresses of the day. Your liver dumps toxins at night, but if you’re awake, those toxins will simply clog up the rest of your body, causing much damage to all your internal organs.
- Sleep in total darkness. If you happen to live in a rural area where the only outside light is from the moon and stars, you can feel free to open your curtains and let the moonlight in. The bright moonlight that comes every month has been shown to increase a woman’s fertility and to optimize dreaming. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? If you live in the city or by bright lights, use heavy blinds to block the light. You can even sleep with an eye mask to block out light.
- If you wake up to use the bathroom at night, try keeping the lights off. Did you know that if you switch on a bright light in your bathroom, you’ll turn off melatonin production in your brain for the remainder of that night? A wiser course of action would be to clean up your hallway of toys and clutter and try walking in near darkness (or moonlight) to the bathroom.
- Increase your exposure to sunshine during daylight hours. We have been taught to be afraid of the sun, yet God made the sun for our benefit. Are you sleepy after lunch? Try napping in your backyard. Work in your flower beds early in the morning, as the birds are singing and the sun is rising. Read your Bible next to a big window each morning. Enjoy walks and picnics with your family.
The production of melatonin in the pineal gland goes on to affect the production of almost every hormone in the human body. If you struggle with hormone problems affecting your thyroid gland, your adrenal glands (cortisol, DHEA, adrenaline, and others), your pancreas (insulin and enzyme production), or your sexual glands (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and others), please take into account your sleep habits first. Many people attempt to simply supplement with over-the-counter melatonin rather than change their lifestyles. I would advise you to save your money and try our Creator God’s method of light and darkness first. Over-the-counter supplements can be very powerful, and how will you know that you are “supplementing” the correct amounts?
The God who made us loves us… and His first way of showing that love was to give us light and dark.
Verses to Ponder:
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:3-4)
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:2)
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24)
The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. (Ecclesiastes 5:12)